In hot conditions, on a bumpy pitch with a severe slope and with only 11 fit players, Wyrley were quickly out of the blocks and were determined to haul themselves back into pole position for the League.
Wyrley confidently stroked the ball around and a fine through ball from Emily Quimby gave Hayley Turner the opportunity to run clear and clip a shot past the onrushing keeper. As time stood still, the ball agonising hit the post and fell back into the hands of the relieved keeper. Laura Cumberledge had an outstanding game and if I did have the practice of giving out Girl of the Game awards, she would have won it. Her work rate was exceptional despite suffering from cramp in the midweek friendly. Rachel Hall and Beth Crook were dominating midfield and their short crisp passing fed Jemma Clews, Turner and Cumberledge on a number of occasions.
A period of Wyrley pressure, despite playing uphill, led to a corner taken by Clews and headed firmly into the roof of the net by the excellent Cath Davis. Headers were being won across the park and there were few opportunities for RPS to break through the excellent back line of Davis, the imperious Amy Marshall, tough tackling Leah Fanning and the hard working Emily Downes.
Half time 1 – 0.
With the slope in their favour Wyrley continued to create the chances and shots from distance from Clews, Hall and Quimby were well saved by the keeper. For once in these encounters, the luck was with the black and white stripes, when a speculative shot from Quimby bounced over the keeper to give the daylight in the scoreline that Wyrley play deserved.
Hall had two chances in the box that were well blocked before RPS then forced a late period of pressure, including a number of corners. A shot from close range was brilliantly parried by Nia Jay in the Wyrley goal and a late shot hit the upright to be cleared.
A substitution seemed to take place every minute at this stage as RPS strived to find a line up to make a break through but Wyrley’s resolute defending held out.
With Wyrley being in a higher league for the last 2 seasons and playing against teams such as Derby County, Aston Villa, Coventry City and Sporting Albion (WBA), games between these 2 teams have only really been seen this season. Despite Wyrley playing the better football in the previous 2 encounters, even the RPS girls have conceded that they were well beaten today in messages to our girls – despite their own website saying otherwise!
Girls, the performance deserved the result and made up for 2 games earlier in the season when luck was not with us after our play deserved more. Today, you showed total committment, tremendous passing long and short and closed down at every opportunity.
EVERY girl was a credit to Wyrley and we now have to replicate that every week. A special mention to Saff Hicken, an unused substitute who was carrying an injury but was very understanding that I couldn’t risk playing her unless injury forced my hand. It is that committment and dedication that makes it my pleasure to coach and manage you! Well done! You can sleep well tonight – you gave everything!